Martin Belam: "on the web you can find newspapers being accused of failing to invent all manner of digital services, including Google, Facebook, Quora, Craigslist and The Huffington Post. Personally, I’m unconvinced that this isn’t akin to asking why the Great Western Railway didn’t invent the automobile. ... What news organisations did do with tools like photography though, was incorporate it into their product at a time when it became economical to do so - the same with colour printing."
"The strategies being pursued by News Corporation, the Daily Mail and General Trust and Lebedev Holdings rest on distinct assumptions about what readers want, what they will pay for, and the future of advertising. It is highly unlikely that all three experiments will work. It may well be that none of them does. But none can be faulted for lack of boldness."
Martin Moore: "There are growing numbers of people in the States who have moved beyond the increasingly circular debates about how to sustain the incumbent news industry. Instead, they are working on lots of projects that use the internet and mobile to provide the public with timely information, in an accessible way. In other words, deliver what journalism did – or was meant to – deliver, without calling it journalism."
Jack Shafer on December 22: "I can't help but applaud the rush of the magazine and newspaper industry to save itself exploiting a new publishing platform. But all the hoopla reminds me of the hype that greeted previous electronic publishing technologies... That's not to say that the tablet has no future. It's just if the past is any guide, the future of the tablet won't look like the SI or Wired prototypes—any more than Pathfinder turned out to be the future of the Web."
"[Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix] said that a growing rivalry between employees who work on the DVD side of the business versus those on the streaming video side is causing at least some “internal tension” at Netflix – not unlike the tension between print and online staffs within some newspaper newsrooms."
From a great list by Judy Sims: "Most newspaper employees are not qualified to do the strategic thinking required to manage disruption let alone create it in the form of new products that may challenge the core because they still see themselves as print newspaper employees. Just stating that you are a 'news' company instead of a 'newspaper' company doesn’t make it true."
Malcolm Gladwell's recent discussion of the full-court press in basketball as an example of insurgent innovation reminded me of this story about the A-11 offense in American football. Underdogs use it to beat conventional tactics and some in the game's establishment think it's unfair or unsporting. Boohoo.
Malcolm Gladwell: "When the game becomes about effort over ability, it becomes unrecognizable—a shocking mixture of broken plays and flailing limbs and usually competent players panicking and throwing the ball out of bounds. You have to be outside the establishment—a foreigner new to the game or a skinny kid from New York at the end of the bench—to have the audacity to play it that way. George Washington couldn’t do it. His dream, before the war, was to be a British Army officer, finely turned out in a red coat and brass buttons. He found the guerrillas who had served the American Revolution so well to be “an exceeding dirty and nasty people.” He couldn’t fight the establishment, because he was the establishment."
"What the established news organisations in the US really need to have right now is some people on their commercial side who really live on the internet, in the way that so many technology journalists have been for years and years. I wonder to what extent they do; all the talk about paywalls has that slight tinge to me of people who don’t live there, and look at all those millions of page views and think “surely we can persuade a few of them to pay'."
"A lot of journalists are fighting their IT departments, with rubbish CMSes and stuff like this," [Mark Ng] said, but he wants journalists to "meet developers who want to build stuff that is good and does interesting things". "There are a lot of developers who believe in decent news media and believe it is important to democracy," Ng said.
Alex Lockwood: "The problem for existing traditional newspapers is that it is not part of their business model to innovate ways for local people to engage directly with the democratic process. ... Other (and often better) ways to access information within local communities, including news and issues of local democracy, already exist. It was not a local newspaper that developed www.theyworkforyou.com"
Bill Grueskin compares Journalism Online and Publish2: "One new firm seeks to generate much-needed revenue by building a platform for subscription services, another seeks to generate new forms of journalism with a platform to share and distribute content. It’s hard to reconcile those two visions of journalism’s future."
Peter Kirwan: "Apart from Google, there’s a conspicuous absence of latter-day equivalents to Amazon, eBay and Yahoo! among the lists of VC exits since 2003. ... This isn’t the Great Transition that Tim O’Reilly and his cohorts had in mind in 2005. In the face of the huge market failure created by the Big Media’s encounter with the web, venture capital’s response has been abysmally weak."
"[The] institutional mindset among young journalists is a big problem. Anyone who talks to a lot of managers in newsrooms — “the baby-boomer, Woodward-and-Bernstein era” types — has heard them complain about their 23-year-olds: how they’re not interested in video or multimedia, how they’re not providing the fresh ideas the old timers wish they were."